Manuela Allegra graduated in Neurobiology at the University of Pisa in 2009, with a thesis on the role of the inhibitory GABAergic system on hippocampal hyperexcitability in a mouse model for the autism spectrum disorders (Sgadò et al., 2013). She received her Ph.D. at the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa), where the main focus of her research activity was the study of neuroplasticity mechanisms in physiological and pathological conditions in rodents. Under the supervision of Prof Matteo Caleo, she used the rodent visual system as a functional and anatomical model for experience-dependent plasticity (Allegra et al., 2014; Deidda, Allegra et al., 2015), she consolidated her expertise on the rodents visual system (Cappello et al., 2012; Tonazzini et al., 2020), and she built a solid background on the processes of adult hippocampal neurogenesis and hippocampal hyperexcitability (Cerri et al., 2016; Allegra et al., 2017; Busti, Allegra et al., 2020). In 2017, Dr Allegra moved to Paris and joined the laboratory of Dr Christoph Schmidt-Hieber at the Institut Pasteur. Here she was awarded with the Marie Curie individual fellowship and her research interest was focused on the hippocampal function in memory encoding and recall (Allegra et al., 2020; Zhang et al., 2021). In 2020 she was appointed to a permanent research position by the CNR (Italy) and she joined the Department of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Padua. Dr Allegra has now started her own research group with a starting grant from Fondazione CaRiPaRo (Moving Researchers for Pediatrics), in collaboration with Prof Antonella Viola and Prof Matteo Caleo.
Selected publications *, equal contribution as first author
Allegra M, Posani L, Gómez-Ocádiz R, Schmidt-Hieber C. Differential Relation between Neuronal and Behavioral Discrimination during Memory Encoding. Neuron Vol 108, issue 6, P1103-1112.E6, Dec 23, 2020
Busti I*, Allegra M*, Spalletti C, Panzi C, Restani L, Billuart P, Caleo M. ROCK/PKA Inhibition Rescues Hippocampal Hyperexcitability and GABAergic Neuron Alterations in a Oligophrenin-1 Knock-Out Mouse Model of X-Linked Intellectual Disability. J Neurosci. 2020 Mar 25;40(13):2776-2788
Allegra M, Spalletti C, Vignoli B, Azzimondi S, Busti I, Billuart P, Canossa M, Caleo M. Pharmacological rescue of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in a mouse model of X-linked intellectual disability. Neurobiology of Disease, 2017 Apr;100:75-86
Cerri C, Genovesi S, Allegra M, Pistillo F, Puentener U, Guglielmotti A, Perry VH, Bozzi Y, Caleo M. The chemokine CCL2 mediates the seizure enhancing effects of systemic inflammation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2016 March 30. 36(13):3777-3788
Deidda G*, Allegra M*, Cerri C, Naskar S, Bony G, Zunino G, Bozzi Y, Caleo M, Cancedda L. Early Depolarizing GABA Controls Critical Period Plasticity in Rat Visual Cortex. Nature Neuroscience 2015 Jan;18(1):87-96
Allegra M, Genovesi S, Maggia M, Cenni MC, Zunino G, Sgadò P, Caleo M, Bozzi Y. Altered GABAergic markers, increased binocularity and reduced plasticity in the visual cortex of Engrailed-2 knockout mice. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 2014 June 17; 8:163